I have just returned from a 10 day silent retreat. I live by myself so it is almost funny spending most of my day in silence that I felt the need to deepen the silence. As my birthday approaches, the big 50, I felt a need to really visit with myself. I have gone through a lot this last 2 1/2 years losing everything that I used as a label to identify myself and I needed, wanted to review my life.
I love silence. I raised 3 kids as a young woman and life has always been very loud. I became very sick in my 40’s and that is when the desire for silence came. I needed and wanted the silence around me as the pain in my became unbearable. As I healed the silence became my friend, my redeemer.
As a person who lives a spiritual life I love walking next to water early in the morning. It is a special kind of silence. Sometimes the waves are so rough you can not hear yourself think. Wonderful for a meditation practice. Other mornings the ocean can be so still it is as if the earth can hear me breath, the gently waves moving in unison with each inhale and exhale. Glorious moments!
The retreat was a time of remembrance. As a walking human after so much tragedy it was attached to me like a shadow with nothing better to do than constantly remind me of my loss. This was not what I desired for my life and it certainly was not the end of my life, it was simply a point in time. It was not the beginning of a new set of labels, poor broken thing so angry and frustrated. No, as I approach 50 I desired a clearing of my heart and my head. A renewal. So I went and I sat in silence for 10 days while someone else took care of my needs.
It was a great blessing. In that silence I remembered those sunrise walking next to the ocean. The changeable ocean, never upset over an oil spill or being over fished and abused. The ocean in its infinite patience and wisdom knows what to do to heal and when the time will come when it does. It floats away our garbage from shore to shore reminding us of what we have done but it sits nowhere permanently until it is pushed up to shore and left to dry and dissolve.
This was the action of my mind hurling useless memories to the surface to be dissolved finally let go in the spirit of transition and change. Nothing about life is permanent and all we know is that time changes everything and often heals many blistering wounds. I sat in silence as scenes played over and over again finally playing themselves out. Remembering change, change changing again. I am as impermanent as the ocean and as everlasting in its changing form. Quiet and still way down deep underneath it all totally in touch with its true nature it’s greatness.
The ocean became a part of me and I became a part of the ocean of stillness.